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Reality TV 'Sister Wives' to challenge Utah anti-polygamy law
Kody Brown and his four wives, the stars of TLC's reality show "Sister Wives."
July 12th, 2011
01:26 PM ET

Reality TV 'Sister Wives' to challenge Utah anti-polygamy law

By Joe Sterling, CNN

Kody Brown and his four wives - the stars of the reality TV show "Sister Wives" - will soon be the subjects of another real-life drama, this one at the federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Browns plan to challenge the state's anti-bigamy statute Wednesday, when attorney Jonathan Turley files a complaint on behalf of the family's fight for the rights of "plural families."

Sister Wives explained: A fundamentalist Mormon polygamy primer

"There are tens of thousands of plural families in Utah and other states. We are one of those families," Kody Brown said in a statement posted on Turley's website Tuesday. "We only wish to live our private lives according our beliefs."

"Sister Wives" is a TLC program about the polygamous Browns and their 16 children. They've moved from Utah and now live in Nevada, a TLC spokeswoman said. Turley said "they could very well move back to Utah," but they had to leave because they were subject to criminal investigation and the "hostile environment" was not conducive to raising children.

Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said on his website that he and the Browns aren't calling for the "recognition of polygamous marriage."

"We are only challenging the right of the state to prosecute people for their private relations and demanding equal treatment with other citizens in living their lives according to their own beliefs," he said.

Opinion: Why this female priest loves 'Sister Wives'

Turley says the case "represents the strongest factual and legal basis for a challenge to the criminalization of polygamy ever filed in the federal courts."

Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's office, said the state "has defended the state's bigamy law in the past and the Utah Supreme Court has held that the state has the right to regulate marriage and to ban bigamy."

Bigamy is a third-degree felony with the potential penalty of one to 15 years in prison, Murphy said. The law was first enacted in the 1890s and the Utah Constitution also forbids polygamy. The law and the constitutional ban were a condition for Utah to become a state, he said.

The last person charged with bigamy was Rodney Holm, a Hildale, Utah, police officer who was also charged with unlawful sex with a 15 or 16 year old, Murphy told CNN.

Holm was convicted of bigamy and unlawful sex in 2003 for taking his first wife's younger sister as a third wife. Holm challenged the law but the Utah Supreme Court in 2006 held that the state has the right to regulate marriage and ban bigamy.

Utah is the base of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, and it has a history of polygamy, which the church renounced more than a century ago. However, offshoots of mainstream Mormonism still engage in the practice.

"This action seeks to protect one of the defining principles of this country, what Justice Louis Brandeis called 'the right to be left alone.' In that sense, it is a challenge designed to benefit not just polygamists but all citizens who wish to live their lives according to their own values - even if those values run counter to those of the majority in the state," Turley said.

One case that could figure as important in the case is the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2003, when the majority of the Supreme Court struck down laws banning consensual sex between same-sex couples. That case involved two consenting adults who didn't seek recognition of their relationship, were not involved in any crimes and whose behavior was private, Turley said.

Turley said that in polygamy cases, other crimes come up, such as child sex abuse. In this case, he said, the Browns are a successful family who've committed no crimes and have children who are thriving in school. They are simply living their private lives according to their own values and faith, Turley asserted, and aren't seeking multiple marriage licenses.

However, he told CNN, their spiritual matrimonial commitments, as seen on TV, have triggered suspicions from authorities in Utah regarding bigamy. Seeing their private behavior as law-breaking is an "obvious contradiction," because other combinations of people are not penalized for having multiple relations and multiple children by multiple partners.

The Browns, he said, should have the same rights as enjoyed by other kinds of families. Such individuals should not be subject to arrest the minute they express a spiritual commitment.

"Can they be prosecuted because their private relationships are obnoxious to other citizens?" he asks.

The Browns praised Turley and his team for their efforts.

"While we understand that this may be a long struggle in court, it has already been a long struggle for my family and other plural families to end the stereotypes and unfair treatment given consensual polygamy," Kody Brown said in his statement. "Together we hope to secure equal treatment with other families in the United States."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints • Utah

soundoff (759 Responses)
  1. lovethelepps

    has any one seen this show the wives have jobs and so does cody so why r u complaining that the state is paying for them get a life if they want to live that kind of life i say let them be they arent hurting anyone exspecially the ones who r commenting on them,i think most of the bad comments are just people who have nothing better to do

    July 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mr Ed

      So, umm...I love my neighbor's horse. I am not hurtning anyone. Therefore, by right, I should be able to continue my relationship with said mare and no one should have any issues with it. I hear wedding bells in our future!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Wow

      "So, umm...I love my neighbor's horse. I am not hurtning anyone. Therefore, by right, I should be able to continue my relationship with said mare and no one should have any issues with it. I hear wedding bells in our future!"

      Wow what a moron, It's about consenting adults and an animal can't give their consent. This argument is on the level of a kindergartner.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • mickey1313

      ed, are you stupid, an animal is an animal, people are people, stop your thestic muddying of facts and mind your own damned business.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • ba

      An 18-year-old boy and his 18-year-old blood-related sister are consenting adults. A 65-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter are consenting adults. Who's ready to openly fight for their marriage rights? And if we're not willing to fight, what hateful people we are. Who are we to deny these adults love just because of potential consequences to their children? We should be seeking a cure for their children instead of showing the world how much hate we have as bigots and disgusting human beings who don't recognize they were born with these desires for their relatives.

      ... it's coming around the corner ...

      July 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  2. why

    No one else thinks this is degrading to women? Really...?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Brent

      I think it is degrading for the government to tell these women how they should live their lives. As if they aren't smart enough to make their own choices as adults.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bruce

      Economically-speaking, actually, the law of supply and demand shows us that if more men had multiple wives and the birthrate remains at roughly 50-50, who is degraded is men–not women.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • John Arguelles

      I do agree with you on that Brent. Women and Men need to make their own decisions. Society always wants to put their '2 cents' in or in other words their opinion how someone should live their lives. Don't we live in America? Land of the free?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • why

      Some people are smart enough, some people aren't. What about the kids who are going to grow up thinking men are the center of the universe? What if one of the other women wanted another husbend, would that be allowed? I get your point about the government controling things, but polygamy doesnt promote progressive thinking. Most religions that support it do not support women having more than one husbend. Unless someone can name one that does...?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • News Flash

      It IS degrading, (and if you listen carefully to their interviews they DO express questions and doubts and experience jealousy), but as Brent says, they ARE big girls, and can make up their own minds and live with the consequences.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Brent

      What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  3. promixcuous

    Legalizing polygamy will invite the growth of religious extremists, particularly Islamists. It will substantially increase the birthrate of people not interested in a democratic secular society.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  4. John Arguelles

    I support their views. Whose business what goes on in a person's home anyway? We should start living our own lives out to the fullness. If a man and a few women want to live a polygamist lifestyle then let em'. As long as they are not hurting themselves or anyone else then it is fine in my book.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  5. karen pacheco

    I don't believe they're breaking any laws. The way I see this is a "guy" living with four women(much like the old tv show three"s company). They earn a living putting no financial burden on the federal govt. or my own pocket. They take care of there children (some might take a few lessons from this family), and appear to have real family values. Although this is not a lifestyle I would choose for myself,_ I say MORE POWER TO THE AND LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!!!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Au contraire: Most polygamist do cost the government, many of them if not most women in that kind of situation collect welfare, because are legally considered single mothers, so a house with five women and ten kids would collect a considerable amount of money, your and mine tax dollars.

      So it is my business..

      July 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Artist

      As well as their homes are always slightly unfinished...which allows them to avoid certain taxes.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • soraya

      I agree 100%. I could not live this kind of lifestyle personally, but who am I to tell someone else how they should live? They're not hurting anyone and after seeing the show, they seem to really care for one another and convey good values. I dont see what the problem is. This should not be considered a crime.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • mickey1313

      bob, precicly why the system needs to change. I think ONONE SHOULD GET GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. Why do tax payers have to pay for people who were to stupid to use protection, they are usely thiests, so why do we keep paying.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • bla

      @Bob, while that might be true, how is that any different than a guy fathering children from several women, who really are single mothers and live apart from the father? I don't hear you concerned about that situation, but put the children into a full home with both parents are actively involved in their lives and you take issue with that?

      July 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  6. Seymour Holz

    I LOVE the smug smile on his face; he's drillin' and chillin', yo.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Jay

    If it was determined in the courts that it was legal for a man to have more than one wife, because of our equal rights laws, then a woman could have more than one husband. I wonder how many polygamist men would think it was still such a good idea. Can you imagine the testosterone wars that would erupt then?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Oliver Holz

      Dude, there's HUNDREDS of women that meet your definition. Such a woman is called "dominatrix".
      Some of them are Brazilian and you can "marry" them for a few hours.
      They will ride your face like a western saddle and slap your a55 like an eastern masseuse. DOOOOOD !!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • why

      Exactly!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Brent

      The key here is that most of us realize it is hard enough to have a relationship with one person but if that is your choice than you should be able to make it as long as it does not violate an individuals rights and is age appropriate.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • mickey1313

      And that is a bridge to croos one case at a time, if the people involved are fine the government has no business being involved.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  8. r

    If gays can marry, I should be able to have a polygamous marriage. It is condoned by the bible (unlike gay marriage) to which I believe it should be more than acceptable considering.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • News Flash

      Really ? The bible prohibited same s.ex marriage ? It condemned same s.ex activity, because it threatened the necessary population growth rate, and civil order of the day. The idea of gay marriage never crossed their minds.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  9. CeeFoR

    "We only wish to live our private lives according our beliefs."

    Why make a TV show about it? Fail.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Whatsupdoc

      Your comment- FAIL.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Artist

      lol no kidding...maybe some of the tax payer aid money ran low?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  10. veronica

    I think it would be wonderful to share a man with other women. To think I can have the bed all to myself on most nights of the week and a babysitter sounds like a good idea to me!

    July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Whatsupdoc

      i like the idea myself! Having a few wives, life wouldnt get boring 😉 Maybe If i'm lucky, my next life will be that!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Artist

      I am guessing the ones on the left in the photo have more alone time.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • mickey1313

      artist, that is so rude, (you do most men who hate of chubby women, are realy VERY interested in them, but cant get them) I LOVE CHUBBY WOMEN!!

      July 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  11. GodPot

    Get rid of the tax issues and I see no problem here. What is wrong with consenting adults entering into a relationship regardless of the number of consenting adults. Those who want to use the same old tired defense of "Well then what will stop people from marrying animals or children?" the same as they do with the gay marriage issue should go have your head checked, they are two different issues, one dealing with consenting adults and the other dealing with r a p e (aka s e x with non-consenting anything).

    July 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  12. Dave

    So we are now back in ancient Isreal, are we? Sorry folks, even Judaism recognizes that time marches on and the need for many wives is less holy than it is illegal.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • charlie

      these people are possible mormon which has nothing to do with ancient israel

      July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • mshrmit

      Except that Mormonism is a Christian sect and Christianity sprang from Judaism, which founded Ancient Israel.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Daniel

      mshrmit,
      Christianity did NOT come from Judaism. Christianity was meant for Gentiles, not Jews. Jews were CONVERTED from Judaism to Christianity. The one did not morph or transition into the other, they are completely separate beliefs and views.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  13. svann

    Wait, so the state is saying that even though they arent technically married they are acting just like they are married so thats a crime? What a crock. Let them live together in peace.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Iggy

      Exactly...no different than living with one partner, but not being legally married. So this guy has 3...so freaking what?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  14. TheHuntresss

    They aren't all stay at home moms. In fact, all but one worked until one of them was fired because of her lifestyle. That's crud. Those kids are better taken care of than a lot of kids in this world, and their family pays to take care of them, not the taxpayers. I don't know how anyone can go after them anyway, he is only LEGALLY married to one, and just spiritually married to the others.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Larkir

      +1, agreed. They're not hurting anyone, looks like a fair environment for kids to grow up in – better than most – who cares what they do behind closed doors?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Whatsupdoc

      I wish more women were up for it!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Who'd-a-thunk-it ?

    So now the shoe is on the other foot. The Mormons supported Prop 8 and wanted California to tell gay people how to live. Now when the state is trying to tell them how to live, they scream bloody murder. What's wrong with this picture ?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Sherri

      You are so right! I had not thought about this. Amen. Polygamy is illegal people. As in 'against the law'.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • vic

      Wait a minute! I thought the Liberal dogma was that people have the right to marry who they please. Any case that can be made for gay marriage can also be made for polygamy. Here again the raging hypocrisy of the left is seen in bold relief!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      Please read it closely... These are not Mormons. The Mormon Church does NOT want families redefined by others as they view the family as the fundamental unit of society. Their belief system is "one man, one woman" and this has not changed.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Iggy

      they aren't "mormons", moron.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • GodPot

      "The Mormon Church does NOT want families redefined by others"

      "Family – Two or MORE people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place." – thefreedictionary.com

      Who's redefining what here?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Kelli

      These people are not Mormon's, dummy! Fundamentalist Mormons (I wish they would change their name,) aren't even a real religion, and are totally different. Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If a Mormon practices polygamy, they are excommunicated.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Saying that FLDS members aren't Mormons is like saying that Protestants aren't Christians because they split with the original Mother Church.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I do find it interesting that "mainstream" Christians claim LDS are not really Christian, but LDS dispute that vigorously and at the same time claim FLDS is not really Mormon.

      @Objective in CA,
      "Their belief system is 'one man, one woman' and this has not changed."
      At least not since 1890-1910, when LDS renounced plural marriage.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Who'd-a-thunk-it ?

      Objective in Ca
      "In fact, even if LDS Church members don’t practice plural marriage on earth, their scripture still teaches that in heaven it is possible. Mormons also believe that families are sealed together for eternity." Jessica Ravitz, (on CNN).
      "Their belief system is "one man, one woman" and this has not changed." YES it HAS.
      Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith and in 1847 led Mormon pioneers west to what became Utah, reportedly married 56 women.
      Ya just never know when the immutable laws of god will change do ya ?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Doc Vestibule,

      I'm guessing it's more like saying Protestants aren't Catholic, but who knows.

      p.s. good to see your posts again. always interesting.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • News Flash

      Eastern Orthodox Catholics aren't really Catholics dummy. I wish they'd change their name. OMG

      July 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Show the Law, not act statute or some such, but A LAW, that says its illigal. The problem with american today, is noone knows what a true law is, they assume everything the government says is true, and it just isnt.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • JeramieH

      > aren't even a real religion

      I'm sorry, remind me again which ones are the "real" religions, and how I'm supposed to identify them...

      July 13, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  16. Kris Greenn

    I say let them be. They are not leaning on the gov for support (if they are it's not much), they are not out there acting crazy and killing the kids, so let them marry have kids, and be happy. I personaly don't like the whole Bigomy/Polygamy thing, but I'm living my own life while they live theirs, and it not hurting either of us so let them be a big happy family.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Artist

      Kris Greenn

      I say let them be. They are not leaning on the gov for support (if they are it's not much),
      -----–
      Let me guess, you are okay with fraud. The mindset of some is simply amazing.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Sherri

      But they ARE leaning on the government. They are (most) getting food stamps because only the first marriage is considered legal. Read When Men Become Gods, by Stephen Singular. Or the book by Jon Krakauer (I forget the name) where the Mormons call it 'bleeding the beast' and are proud of it. They hate the U.S. government, but have no problem taking our money, under false pretenses. Do some research. These people are thieves and child molesters. And more. Start reading the books by the women who have escaped this lifestyle.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Whatsupdoc

      @ Artist

      Where the heck do you get fraud from?? They just said they're not breaking ANY laws....so where do you get fraud from??

      People like you is where we get problems from.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Iggy

      @Sherri: you do know that the Krakour book is one of the worst researched books ever written, right?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Whatsupdoc

      Sherri- you have so many issues...

      There are alot of people on food stamps, that doesnt mean they are breaking the law. If you know they are breaking the law, Report them then! But you wont cause all you want to do is judge people and pretend you have a better life. Get over it.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      @Sherri: Again, these are not Mormons. Real Mormons do not "Bleed" the system. In fact, I think you'll find by doing REAL research that REAL Mormons take care of their own, with their own, very well-run, self-sustaining, non-government funded system for taking care of the poor. Also, no REAL Mormon believes they can become God, only continually progress on a quest to become more LIKE God (as all Christians are actually commanded to do in the Bible).

      July 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  17. Frances

    As long as they are not leaving off the system, I have no problem with how they live. After watching their show, I think they are quite normal (infact, I wouldn't mind if they were my neighbor). Now for the ones living behind a stone/brick wall....................

    July 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Shera

    Let us keep in mind that a lot of these women have no jobs, but many children, therefore they quaility for state assistance.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Heather

      You are incorrect.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Artist

      Bingo, the single mothers get aid from the tax payers. We pay so that he can have multiple wives.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bobby

      We already pay for a bunch of deadbeats to have multiple "baby daddies," but I don't see these liberals going after that.

      It's funny, when a man gets 3 women pregnant and sticks around to help as best he can raise them, he's crucified for any government assistance. But some guy gets 5 kids from 5 different girls, all on gov support, doesn't help support any of them, and how dare you ever point that out because you racist.

      Give me a break people.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Bobbi,
      I might agree that what you describe is hypocritical, but how is it racist?
      Unless you're assuming that all the '5 kids by 5 dads that don't support their children' people are of a certain race... but that would make you the racist, wouldn't it?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  19. gimie a break

    if he wants multiple wives i say let'em have'em!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • barbara

      Are willing to have your tax dollars going to support all the children these women have?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      Are you equally indignant about all of the inner-city single moms who keep having children with no means of support? We do not have a means test with respect to having children in this country, but this has nothing to do with polygamy, per se.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  20. The Bobinator

    People should be allowed to associate and have whatever relationships they want with people. The state should have nothing to say about an individuals choice of who or whom to sleep with and have a family with.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I'll second that. As for people complaining that polygamy can result in underage 'brides' and neglected children – there are already laws that protect against such behavior.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • bill

      yeah i give you that point but they did not have to be on tv about thier relationships then they most likely would not be noticed

      July 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • junior

      Really? Utah spent $20M in California to help them defeat Prop. 8. One state interfering into another states politics.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      How do the state laws consider the welfare of a family of 4 wives and 1 husband and their 16 children when they fall on hard times? When a wife leaves her family and cannot subsist on her own…does she leave and take ‘her’ children and rely on welfare? If they are all married [considered one] should not the other wives consider those children [of the wife who left] their children also? Should the state proclaim the family from which the children come to provide for the wife and children who left until they are of age; what if the wife is a child also? Are there laws for these circu-mstances?

      We have laws which pertain to marriage as one man and one woman but what are the laws pertaining to one man and [any number] of wives? What are the laws pertaining to under age children under these circu-mstances when the parent/parents die and children are left? What happens with Social Security Benefits? What about Health Care? Insurance companies…one price for husband and spouse..s….and child..ren? How are these ‘families’ managing now? Do they even have insurance coverage? There are many questions with outcomes that could affect all of us.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • News Flash

      @CatholicMom
      Since when do Catholics consider the complications ? Doesn't the Pope have all those questions answered for you already ?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > How do the state laws consider the welfare of a family of 4 wives and 1 husband and their 16 children when they fall on hard times?

      I would assume pretty much the same as families that have only a couple.

      > When a wife leaves her family and cannot subsist on her own…does she leave and take ‘her’ children and rely on welfare?

      I would figure there'd be alimony payments.

      > If they are all married [considered one] should not the other wives consider those children [of the wife who left] their children also?

      Why should they? It'd be more of an aunt/uncle relationship wouldn't it?

      >Should the state proclaim the family from which the children come to provide for the wife and children who left until they are of age; what if the wife is a child also? Are there laws for these circu-mstances?

      They should do exactly as what occurs when in a monogomous relationship.

      > We have laws which pertain to marriage as one man and one woman but what are the laws pertaining to one man and [any number] of wives?

      Just because they don't exist yet doesn't mean they won't. Gay marriage doesn't exist in most of america. It will soon. Why can't the law adapt to what new situations come out?

      > What are the laws pertaining to under age children under these circu-mstances when the parent/parents die and children are left? What happens with Social Security Benefits? What about Health Care? Insurance companies…one price for husband and spouse..s….and child..ren?

      Like I said, same as a monogomous marriage. You'll end up paying for their extra coverage, much like how good drivers pay for the actions of bad drivers.

      > How are these ‘families’ managing now? Do they even have insurance coverage? There are many questions with outcomes that could affect all of us.

      That you don't know the answer to but presuppose are going to be issues.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @CatholicMom,
      I think you raise some very good questions, however, none of them are at issue in this particular case since they are not asking to be legally married, just not criminalized. So I'm guessing that the state would treat them as one married couple and 3 single mothers, all living in the same household. Not that unusual if you think about extended families and/or boomerang children.

      If they were asking for legalizing polygamy then I think your questions are just logistical questions in the sense that we would need to modify some applicable laws for, say, social security, parental rights, insurance (maybe), but perhaps there wouldn't be much impact on the basic principles (as I see them, that is.) Essentially, the married people are responsible for the offspring of that marriage, whether biological or not. That could get complex, but shouldn't be too overwhelming. Likewise, alimony, taxes, insurance. Even now, I think, you can claim unrelated people in your household as dependents for tax and maybe insurance purposes.
      Actuaries would have a field day though, with all the new tables needed. : )

      July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.